Ashore - and more heading this way

The sloop that landed near Clifton Pier earlier this month.

The sloop that landed near Clifton Pier earlier this month.

By Sancheska Dorsett

IMMIGRATION officials are bracing themselves for an “influx of illegals,” according to Kirklyn Neely, head of the Immigration Department’s Enforcement Unit, who said the holiday season “usually sees about three to four” Haitian sloops illegally land throughout the islands.

His comments came moments after a boat “loaded” with Haitian migrants landed near Clifton Pier yesterday morning, about three miles from Coral Harbour. This is the second time in about a month an illegal sloop has landed near the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s (RBDF) Coral Harbour Base.

The illegal landing prompted Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Davis to call for “heads to roll,” saying an explanation is needed from authorities. 

Immigration officers and other authorities spent yesterday combing the area for the migrants. Up to press time the RBDF said 57 people - 43 men, 11 women and three children - were taken into custody and transported to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

“Around 7am, a concerned citizen called me personally and said there was a boat loaded down with Haitians about to land near Clifton Pier,” Mr Neely said.

“I immediately dispatched a team and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force also assisted in the search for the illegals. Several were caught within the first hour and they were taken to the Detention Centre where a medical team will meet them to ensure they are okay.”

“We are trying to find out where in Haiti these persons came from and how many persons were on the boat. This, however, is a trend every year around Christmas and New Year’s. So, we expect about three to four boats to come in, that’s the trend they usually come in fours. This boat landed on a rock in front of Commonwealth Brewery next to the BEC plant and can carry between 80 to 100 persons. We caught about 10 in the bushes but they got a head start on us. The search is continuous.”

He said some of the migrants were familiar faces to immigration officers, meaning they had been repatriated to Haiti recently only to return to the country illegally. 

In the wake of the latest incident, Mr Davis called for an explanation from government officials.

“Once again we are shocked that illegal migrants in a slow sail boat were able to make it just this morning (Monday) to shore within a few miles of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Base,” the PLP leader said in a statement. “This calls for an immediate explanation from the Minister of National Security Marvin Dames who cannot yet again plead that this has happened because the country has a vast land and sea border. That was his excuse the last time it happened.

“When this happened before, we pointed out that the shocking thing was that it happened right at the doorstep of the defence force base.

“It is incredible therefore that it has happened again and it appears that nothing operationally has changed. Have the minister and his officials not drawn any lesson with regard to this?

“We demand a full explanation of the facts. Heads it would seem need to roll,” Mr Davis added.

In a statement issued last night, the RBDF said it has apprehended approximately 1,100 migrants for the year, adding half of these apprehensions were made jointly with immigration and police authorities, as well as the United States Coast Guard.

“The force is also on full alert to prevent narcotics trafficking in the country as well as deterring and arresting poachers and have rendered substantial relief assistance after disasters throughout the Bahamas,” the statement said. 

In November, a large empty sloop was discovered on the shoreline of Adelaide Beach. Despite extensive searches, immigration officials said no one from that boat was captured.

At the time, Immigration Director William Pratt said he “had no idea” how such a large sloop could land so close to the RBDF’s base and go undetected, but suggested the RBDF should perhaps “improve their surveillance.”

Authorities believe the immigrants who landed at the time had help from people already on New Providence and warned anyone who was found to be hiding them would be jailed, fined or both.

Last month, Mr Neely estimated between 150 to 250 undocumented migrants were on board the sloop. 

The hunt for the migrants began on November 12 when the RBDF said it was investigating reports of a wooden Haitian sloop landing in the southwest area of New Providence.

Last month, Mr Dames said the Bahamas is an archipelago of over 700 islands and cays, adding it is not possible to identify every vessel that comes through its borders.

“I can tell you from personal experience I’ve had many trips when I was in the police force running operations, you can go out for hours and not see anything, land, boats, or anything else. For someone to think that every vessel that comes through here should be identified, that’s not humanly possible,” the minister of national security said at the time.


OldFort2012 6 years, 7 months ago

Might I suggest the Defence Force buy a drone for Xmas? You could spot them from miles away.

DDK 6 years, 7 months ago

Especially with such brightly coloured sails!

bogart 6 years, 7 months ago

Revealing article in todays front page Guardinn from the Commodore RBDF BY Travis Cartwright Carroll,'RBDF: Sloop waited for patrol window' / Patrols of western end of island only started again recently" "Bethel, who spoke to the Nassau Guardian, said the force only recently resumed patrolling the western portion of NewProvidence after being told by the former administration to 'stand down' from patrolling that area." Investigations are needed and whosoever has compromised our national security should be jailed for life.

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades! While the questions from the media could and should be more direct - still even with this media sleekness the answers just don’t make much sense.
So, for those lip readers paying attention to the most pressing issues of the day, you’most humble blog servant Comrade Tal, is going be mouthing what the Imperial PM Minnis, ‘Acee’ and Imperial Crown Ministers really means be saying when they be confusing, ducking, running, hiding, sidetracking and deflecting away from simple questions, requiring but straightforward responses. The peoples shouldn’t be left with the sinking feelings that the most trust able, credible thing is when members red shirts governing administratio does utter their names. Comrades, stay tuned to these hereto Tribune blog pages.

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

The law prohibiting the installation of radars at the defense force base should be repealed.

banker 6 years, 7 months ago

Wooden boats do not show up very well on radar. An ex-client just put radar reflectors on his boat because radar doesn't detect wood or fiberglass very well and in his case, he want's to be seen on the radar if he gets into trouble.

OldFort2012 6 years, 7 months ago

Long distances, you are right. But this is a couple of miles. Radar sees wood at a couple of miles just fine.

jusscool 6 years, 7 months ago

well they need to get their behinds out there and start regular sea and air patrols of our boarders . Millions of dollars in equipment going to waste!

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

For heaven's sake Comrade Banker, why does the defense force base need the best radar sends out microwave pulses be detecting a wooden sloop sailing right in front the naked eyes defense forces Commodore? Like I said about the previous illegal sloop that cruised by Commodore undetected with the still missing '250' illegals....all left sloop's crew have done was to signal to the Commodore to take over the sloop's rudder. {You can't make funny up}. The Imperial Crown's red shirts cabinet ministers enjoys sending under performing government workers home by the hundreds just before Christmas Day......why stop now?

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

These boats move slowly, use the RBDF aircraft to do surveillance every 4 hours ....... just circle between Exuma, NP and Andros ......... Is that too difficult???????

hrysippus 6 years, 7 months ago

Illegal Haitians everywhere, . ...... Some up on the roof, some under the stair.. ................ Ten thousand dollar fine if you caught with one, . .......... Finding that much money don't sound like too much fun. .. ...... I Illegal Haitians everywhere, .... .... If you housing one, you'd better take care.

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades! How do you tell who was born here and who wasn't when the majority of undocumented persons entering the Bahamaland are Haitian children up to the age of 14 years? How can it not complicate the aspirations for Bahamaland citizenship when many not born here present documents claiming that they were. The march towards citizenship eligibility what the constitution offers children born on Bahamaland soil, is often framed in suspect fraud.

jusscool 6 years, 7 months ago

Curious to know . Does these documents come with signatures? And if so are these signatures of persons still alive?

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

Ive heard thst for citizenship you don't even need a davit ... just half a davit :-)

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

BOL ................ a JP affidavit for an illegal immigrant's child should not be used as a document to obtain a Bahamian passport ....... CORRUPTION.

John 6 years, 7 months ago

They continue the journey their fore parents took...to the Bahamas and to the US and even to Canada searching for the land of milk and honey. Traveling on wooden boats, stacked almost the way they came across the middle passage from the coasts of Africa. Little food and water but plenty hope and expectation. The chains of poverty enslaving them this time. I say give them food and water, a gps even, and let them complete their third passage. At least until something is done to be improve their impoverished land.

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades Commodore Tellis the 7th Commander Defense Forces is on talk radio claiming Rome was not built in a day when it comes how prevent illegal sloops from sailing right under they noses. Truth is the 1st Commander Defense Forces been chasing down illegal sloops since way back in 1980, so dump the Rome was not build in a day excuse.
Comrade Commodore admit it, you and your seaman’s and sea woman’s fell short on stopping the two most recent illegal sloop sailings right pass the defense forces base. Commodore, the national anthem is ‘March On, Bahamaland’ not ‘Sail on To Bahamaland' undetected' to share the Bahamaland Islands as you damn-well please.
Is it time for an 8th Commander Bahamaland's Royal Navy take over patrolling for illegal sloops?

John2 6 years, 7 months ago

The illegal sloop landings would cease if Bahamians would step up to the plate and eliminate the need for the cheep labour they provide. Get up of their behinds and stop complaining that there are no jobs. The jobless rate is estiminated to be at 30% or higher and that says alot about our work ethic and the kind of work we want to do. I recently visited the commonwealth brewery bottle recycling center on east west highway and a large percentage of the employees there and most of the deliveries buy the truck loads of discarded beer bottles are made by haitians. It is written fact that commonwealth brewery has stated that they have reached over 50% in reclycling bottles and thats an amazing feat because it seams that Bahamians refuse to do this kind of work for various reasons the lease of which is Pride This is just one example of an area or type of work thats been monopolized by the Haitians .www.tribune242.com/news/2013/feb/20/brewery-recycling-over-50-of-bottles/

John 6 years, 7 months ago

OPEN YOUR EYES BAHAMIANS! These Haitian sloops always had the ability to come into Nassau. The fact is in the past that was not their destination. They stayed on the outskirts of the islands because their intended landing was the US. But now that big, bad Donald Trump is president and has promised to deport all illegals, no matter how long they have been living in the US, the destination of choice is now Nassau. And so they are taking their chances and they are coming. And this is just the beginning. When Donald Trump starts to deport the remaining of the 60,000 Haitians who were given refuge in the US many will try to come here. And the flight from Haiti in an indication that the economy of that country is deteriorating. So this country must now brace for the long haul.

birdiestrachan 6 years, 7 months ago

The Immigration department will not be able to send them back. Because the out spoken QC who gave the FNM Government a undisclosed amount will not allow it. Besides they can bring all the children they wish and they will be registered in the schools or they can call Brent Symonette and he will see that it is done.

Economist 6 years, 7 months ago

Of course the Department of Immigration can send them back. But only after they have been taken before the court and shown to be illegal.

All people, no mater their nationality, are entitled to a properly constituted hearing., that's all. Its called "due process".

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Economist, thanks I'm going pass your info on to the director and the minister of immigration - apparently they skipped the court process, or notifying the parent/legal guardian of the little child they shipped backed to Haiti....wonder if they put enough postage for Bahamalamd's Royal mail to get's them there safely?

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

Economist....when you say "all people" do you include Bahamian citizens merely accused of a crime but are suffering in "remand" month after month after month after month? Do you take into account the number of ambulance trips to and from that place?

Im sure you do not, like most people. Any Bahamian woman who borns a child in this country today should be immediately arrested for child abuse because that child will suffer much abuse in the next 18 years. Bahamians simply do not count.

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

Do you remember the young man the Court kindly set free last year after the Judge noted that he had already served more prison time in remand than he would have served had he been found guilty of the crime? Why did no Q.C. rescue him?

The poor buzzard was probably a 3rd or 4th generation Bahamian, that's why.

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades, how's the new Imperial Red Shirts Cabinet Ministers doing on their 2017 general election pledge that if elected to govern that illegal immigration would be reduced through enhanced intelligence gathering and “relentless conduct of regular and routine apprehension, detention, fingerprinting and repatriation”, as well as “enhance surveillance and enforcement capacity of the national security agencies (Bahamaland Royal Navy) against illegal immigrants, illegal traffic and trade and private marinas.....but tis true sloops cruising right on by while waving at the Commodore standing on the dock directly in front the Bahamaland Royal Navy's base were never mentioned. {Too funny make this up}. The red shirts also promised to fully enforce the laws to fine employers who hire illegals?

John 6 years, 7 months ago

The fact is that the Minnis led FNM government made the immigration problem even more complicated and even less enforceable when it legally declared that any child born to a Bahamian parent, either mother or father, anywhere in the world is a Bahamian. So now Haitian women coming to the Bahamas will let Bahamian men 'juice' them to make Bahamian babies. And likewise Haitian men (and Jamaicans and Chinese) will not have to go through the 'marriage for citizenship' process any more. They just have to make baby with a Bahamian woman and eventually the child can apply to sponsor their parents in the Bahamas. Then there is the issue of crooked doctors who will create or alter documents to indicate that DNA shows a child has one or both Bahamian parents. And can the country legally deport the illegal mother (or single parent father) of an underage Bahamian?

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades, I've been vocal long before the 2017 general election that if the reds won it would fall on the shoulders King's Council Freddy Smith to be the chief one to keep this red shirts government on the straight and narrow path.... Little could've I had known the learned KC, would have his hands full policing what can best described as Bahamaland's, first experiment with a Imperial red shirts prime minister and cabinet.

truetruebahamian 6 years, 7 months ago

Forget about drones. If the maintenance required to keep them fueledand in the air is donelike has been done on the Defence Forceboats sent to the Nethelands for reconditioning, they will be lost and fall into the sea before long. The proprietary skill required to fly them is - I am sure - possible, but maintenance and equipment diagnostics, firmware upgrades and spares available immediately is the key.

ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, only false hope depending on any sophisticated system, we won't maintain it, whether we want to or not, the cost by itself would be prohibitive. I say get a network of private citizens and private cameras. That's a simplified statement, details of scheduling, anonymity, randomness(don't want people predicting coverage and evading or leaking), full coverage are a little more involved but quite achievable . This approach could work fir on island crime as well.

OldFort2012 6 years, 7 months ago

Or maybe we should use the new Bill to import 10,000 software engineers to solve the problem of maintaining a drone which costs a total of $999


truetruebahamian 6 years, 7 months ago

That is NOT the type of drone suitable for surveillance! Come on now- you must know better!

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades! Before you place your faith on Bahamaland's government setting up and maintaining some kinds sophisticated surveillance system, let me remind as we speak that there are '86' lighthouses long abandoned to the ghosts of occupants past, stretched across our Bahamaland.
Family members in the lighthouses know are whispering aloud that even some the lighthouses keepers have mysteriously vanished under unexplained circumstances? {You can't just make this up}.

John 6 years, 7 months ago

The news that the commodore of the RBDF was asked th stand down from patrolling the South Western coasts of New Providence has really set tongues a wagging and brains shifting into high, high gear. What exactly was going on in this part of the island that was so secret, so covert, so conspicuous and maybe so illegal that even the man in charge of guarding our seas, protecting our boarders and enforcing the law even was not involved in or even informed about. What was being smuggled into or out of the island? Are these activities still going on and these Haitian sloops a re mere distractions from the operations that mat still be going on. Poor Haitians. This may all sound far fetched but Bob Marley died from a toe infection after trying on a pair of sneakers that was given to him as a gift. By whom? Are the same people involved? Remember we have a major problem with guns and drugs coming and going from that side. (The Wild, Wild West ). What going on while the country is a whoring after Haitian sloops?

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

John you have a great question there. I'm going to "stand down" until it is answered.

Porcupine 6 years, 7 months ago

I understand the many problems of illegal immigration, especially for a small country such as The Bahamas. However, nobody has touched on the root of the problem. Until then, it will only get worse. Most commenters here have noted the insidious ways of the imperial powers in our recent financial conundrums. Few countries on earth have suffered more at the hands of the elite than Haiti. From the French to the US to the supposedly impartial UN. Haiti has been sucked dry. Do they have their own problems? Of course, as do all countries. The bottom line is that very few humans willingly leave the place they call home, risking it all for a better life, unless that life is so miserable they must leave. Haitians, by and large, have been forced into the situation they are in by foreign powers. Read the history. Who do Bahamians blame for their selfish, short-term thinking that is allowing their country to become a backwater? Most Bahamians prefer to hire Haitians because it is said that they are hard working, reliable and honest. Am I wrong? Do we forget that we are supposedly a Christian nation? Do we understand what that means? Do we? There are more than enough resources in the world; food, shelter, clothing and money to go around. Do we fail to consider that the US alone spends upwards of a trillion dollars a year on military spending? Think you know what a trillion dollars is? I doubt it. See this: http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index… My point is that in a few short years, if the world had the will, we could improve the living standard in EVERY country such that nobody would want to leave the place of their birth, except for vacation. I am not being flippant. We seem to have lost our moral and intellectual compasses. We waste more money, food and resources due to our outmoded way of thinking while in the process degrading the very life forces we inherited. I suppose that shows what we value most. If you pay very close attention to the emerging science, the living earth is in deep shit. The Bahamas will pay the price earlier than most countries, however we must plan for our children's future in a very much degraded world. God does NOT have our backs. She gave us brains and compassion. That we fail to use them is entirely our choice. The answer to the immigration "problem" is right in front of us. Spend our money treating people like things, or put our money where our mouths are and seek to create a better world for all of us.

Cas0072 6 years, 7 months ago

You said a whole lot of nothing. Everyone is well aware of Haiti's history and that it could all end (in Haiti and elsewhere) if the powers that be had the will to do so. That includes their fellow citizens of means and the people that THEY elect into office. Can you please spell out how the Bahamas can end Haiti's suffering? I'm interested. Sorry if everyone's christian, moral and intellectual standards are not up to your standards. Many can hardly see the past the day or remain optimistic about their own futures. Perhaps you need to do more for Haiti yourself, because berating a population that is also suffering and unable to even help themselves is not it. Have you tried the UN with this message?

Porcupine 6 years, 7 months ago

A coherent criticism I could not find here. I stick to what I said above.

Cas0072 6 years, 7 months ago

Then try giving a coherent statement (with paragraphs) that offers real solutions to the situation at hand. I maintain that your soap box ramblings are still a whole lot of nothing addressed to the wrong audience.

John 6 years, 7 months ago

If you read the posts above yours you will see this matter was addressed. To the effects of ‘give them food and water, a gps even and let them continue on their journey to find the land of milk and honey. At least until something is done to fix the problems in their home land.”

Porcupine 6 years, 7 months ago

I did read the posts above. Is this what you consider "addressed"? Is this the depth of our adult thinking?

Sickened 6 years, 7 months ago

a tethered hot air balloon on Inagua will be able to detect any sloops heading our way.

screwedbahamian 6 years, 7 months ago

Its world News: Flying Haitian sloops invading the Bahamas. Since The Bahamas is surrounded by water they only have sea patrols around some islands safeguarding the Bahamian people. These flying sloops transporting Haitian citizens and others Illegal immigrants to paradise are landing right next to the Bahamas defense force and army for protection and safety. Proposal accepted to place a HUGH sign on Great Inagua TO READ " WELCOME TO THE BAHAMAS PLEASE STOP FOR FOOD AND DRINKS AND MAPS TO YOUR ISLAND OF CHOICE OR THE CAPITAL , NEW PROVIDENCE. YOUR SAFETY IS GUARANTEED" of course will be in Haitian Creole and English.

TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

Porcupine...the solution to Haiti's problems is simple. It is called family planning IN HAITI and for those who live abroad.

Nearly 11 million people in Haiti.

907 people per square mile.

Only 85 per square mile in the Bahamas.

That's nearly 11 times. Could u imagine the Bahamas population being 11 times more dense?

You would always "get the middle seat" on the bus, plus all sorts of other way more serious probems would occur.

But that is where we are headed and the silly thing is that in just a short 10 years from now, Haitians here are going to wonder why their parents ever came and borned them in this Hell hole which will at that time be even worse than Haiti. Many will willingly return "home".

Until their unbridled breeding is addressed, it doesn't matter where they live. You can send them even to Australia, but all you would do is confuse and bewilder the kangaroos who would wonder how they breed so quickly without baby pouches.

truetruebahamian 6 years, 7 months ago

If illegals have children here at our expense, we should go a step further and give them a mandatory spay and neuter at our expense also. It would be cheaper and more cost effective in the long run!

Emilio26 2 years, 3 months ago

I wonder who out in Clifton Pier alerted the authorities? Because as far as I know ain't much homes out in that area unless someone either at Stuarts Cove or Commonwealth Brewery saw the Haitian sloop coming from far away.

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